When exploring product management, people often get too caught up in the tools and tactics that seasoned product managers use to do their jobs. People who are just getting started in product management stress over the details that won’t actually make them successful. Product managers become successful by gaining experience and excelling with certain skills. So what are the skills? All successful product managers are good at these two skills.
- Knowing how to solve problems
Knowing How to Solve Problems
Those who are good at solving problems follow this process as if it were second nature. The process of solving problems is basically a 3 step process:
- Deconstruct — This is the ability to break the problem down into manageable parts.
- Prioritize — Once the problem is broken down, you have to understand which ones to tackle first by correctly prioritizing them.
- Validate — And once you know which problem to solve first, you implement solutions until you can validate that the problem has been resolved. Just because you implemented a solution doesn’t mean that the problem is solved.
The other skill that successful product managers have is their leadership ability. They are able to lead themselves and others well. Here are three things product managers must do to successfully lead:
- Create Clarity — Good product managers help create clarity for their teams. They are good at all aspects of communication. They are proactive with communication, nurture communication between people, and (most importantly) write clearly. Most importantly, these kinds of communication create greater clarity for themselves.
- Bring Along — A good product manager may help blaze a trail, but that doesn’t mean they bulldoze over people or leave people behind. Good product managers have to be able to bring all stakeholders along in delivering value to people. It always takes a team to create lasting value.
- Empathize — Good product managers are able to do a good job of putting themselves in other people’s shoes. They understand the perspective of others and can use this understanding to communicate more effectively.
Simplify your understanding of what makes a good product manager and focus on these two skills. Truth be told, these two skills take lots of time and experience to master.